A gust of wind blew past. I swept the hair flying in the breeze behind my shoulders.
I did not like having long hair very much. For Imperial ladies, it was tradition to grow our hair till it reached our waist until our coming-of-age ceremony. It was something I hated to do but I had no choice but to do it. Just like something else I knew.
I was sure Rebecca too had something she did not like but had to do.
“I really like that Rebecca is my lady-in-waiting. Now, I hate people who are not like Rebecca.”
Something stirred calmly within her black eyes. For a moment, her inner thoughts jumped out of her.
“My… father wanted me to find out the truth behind the rumours between you and the Crown prince.”
Instead of the usual frost, I could see her black eyes slightly wavering.
“The Aventa house had always been ambiguous about their standing so it never belonged to any faction. Be it the Crown Prince’s or the 2nd Prince’s. Being a Templar of the Sword, my father did trust the Crown Prince but it’s not that easy to just take his side…”
“That’s because of his cruelty.”
The Duke of Aventa was a Templar of the Sword and an accomplished knight. I might not know him very well but I could not easily believe the fact that he sent the daughter he cherished so much just to investigate a rumour. I wondered if he was someone who would take risks like this.
“So far, whenever he led his knights and soldiers charging towards somewhere, no family would be left alive. Every mansion he visited was always drenched in blood. Because that’s the kind of person he is.”
She closed her eyes at our eye contact.
“His palace is a place no other has entered other than the Duke of Develo. From the place where even the 2nd Prince cannot step foot in, only one person had stepped out of his conquests alive.”
Rebecca paused for a moment to sigh before continuing.
“I’m talking about the abandoned 8th princess.”
As her red hair fluttered in the wind like fine threads, Rebecca curtsied slightly instead of tidying her hair.
“That’s how the rumours began to circulate. And the Crown Prince did not deny it.”
“What kind of rumours?”
“… Rumours that the Crown Prince cherished you.”
What a strange rumour. People who I did not know were believing a rumour that neither me or the people I was close to would ever believe. It stirred a strange feeling within me.
Wind continued to blow. Rebecca lifted her hand to sweep her hair back. Even within her wavering eyes, I could see determination.
“What kind of person are you?”
I smiled widely.
Well, how many people in the world truly know what kind of person they were?
The faint aroma of mild spices wafted into our room from the first floor, signalling that dinner preparations had already begun.
“I’m just as you see, Rebecca.”
I lifted my head loosely as I looked into the eyes that were questioning me. As if to say I did not know either.
“Rebecca, have you been calculating this whole time? Judging my worth like some kind of dress?
“Then, after calculating and haggling my worth, if my value remains the same, can you continue to stay by my side like we are now, Rebecca?”
I curled my lips before staring at the sunset at the far corners of the sky. I then stared up into the air before finally smiling at Rebecca.
“Rebecca, I still like you.”
In order to obtain Rebecca, I was going against my beliefs and abandoning the values I had been sticking to so far.
By using her death which had been revealed in the diary, I threw myself into danger, used that event as a stepping stone to slightly anchor myself in her heart and whispered to her sweetly. In this short amount of time, everything I did was to win her over.
She had become doubtful. This was the moment she was finally revealing her feelings. And I was unbearably pleased and happy.
“What kind of person am I to you, Rebecca?”
During a time when fine streams of light were already disappearing into the night. I stared at the lady-in-waiting who was warming her body with a single cup of tea.
“I really don’t know what kind of person you are. I don’t know if I sound silly but you confuse me. At times, you look weak and thin yet at other times, you have the power to command others like a serpent.”
Rebecca got up from her seat slowly to approach me.
“I’ll be going back to my home soon. And I will let my father know of my opinion.”
Rebecca said that before smiling coldly.
“… And I’ll tell him one thing.”
I slowly blinked my eyes.
“In the princess’ palace, only my mistress is foolish enough to like me so much.”
I had never seen Rebecca smile so gently.
I knew it. She had finally opened up. Rebecca could not not forget the moment from which she owed me her life and could not abandon me. If she were to ever betray me one day, she would hesitate. I could notice it at first glance.
“I really do like you, Rebecca.”
As they were coloured with the sunset, the eyes that were staring at me directly were so beautiful.
“So you’re not leaving anymore, right?”
“The relationship between a mistress and her lady-in-waiting is something that cannot be broken.”
“Even in the future?”
My haughty lady-in-waiting looked down at me confidently.
“Yes. Even in the future.”
I had never told Rebecca I knew her future and tried to use that fact. I could never tell her.
“Even though I’m foolish, Rebecca still likes me, right?”
“Seeing as you understand, you’re very clever.”
My heavy heart sank. At the same time, a sorrowful joy filled me.
For winning you over like this.’
I could not tell her the whole truth. But the time had come to at least stop this act of mine. Not now, but I would have to face her without my shell sooner or later. Then, what expression would Rebecca have?
I held out my hand. Rebecca hesitated for a moment before slowly grabbing it. The moment her hand entered mine, I smiled brightly.
“I like you too.”
So that her sincerity would not fall into vain.
“No I do not, Seriously, I think you misunderstood.”
I would help her change the future.
7.5 Fleon Clache
Men and women clad in white lined up in front of the courtyard with lush acacia trees.
The face that finally poked out from behind the old lady was so small it looked like it could disappear any second.
“So, she’s my younger sister.”
He frowned before scanning her from the tip of her head to the bottom of her feet.
‘A tiny kid who was much smaller than me.’
The light blonde hair that reminded him of silver grass fluttered in front of his eyes like thread.
“How disgusting. Is it some kind of contagious disease?”
Even though he had inflicted an absurdly hurtful wound that day, he had not known what he did wrong. He was apathetic and indifferent.
Fleon was always dreaming.
‘… And dreaming.’
He did not realise that the fragments he had met in that place would swarm back to him in whole one day. The child who did not know of responsibility was ignorant of what he had done. When he realised all the mistakes he made in the past, all that was left was the pain of his past memories stabbing him.
‘I was no different from those disgusting officials outside who talk about us.’
He had been in agony since then. On the days he would come to visit, the blunt words he had spouted must have hurt his younger sister. But even in his agony, he did not stop seeking out her palace. He could not stop.
He stabbed the young girl that was like a fluffy newborn baby bird using affection as an awl.
He whispered his regrets and yet he continued to pour out words he did not mean.
Fleon opened his eyes. There were many people in front of him. He smirked.
‘Did I help her in the end?’
The young man closed his eyes at the last minute. For the sins she had forgotten but he had yet to forget.
—9 years ago.
While the girl left the palace to escape the plague, Fleon would head to the big white palace everyday.
The palace that the princess left behind was calm and desolate. The roof glistened like a jewel, like the sun that rose from the east. Waiting for the girl who would one day appear like a dream, Fleon brooded over his apology.
“Hm, my words were a little harsh then so forget them. You hear me? Ah, that’s not it.”
The wait was long, bitter and hot. Since Fleon had grown up with the love of his mother, he did not understand his budding feelings. They were feelings of guilt.
Waiting for his sister felt like he was trying to hold sand in his hands. Even if he tried to count how long he had waited, time continued to slip out of his hand. He wanted to remove the fragments embedded in his heart quickly and become comfortable again.
When would she return?
After a year and a month, Fleon met a boy who was similar to him and yet different.
“What’s with you?”
Fleon asked indifferently.
The little boy blinked at him. His brown hair, like the trunk of a young tree, fluttered in the wind.
“Hey. Who are you?”
The boy’s eyes were as red as the roof of the girl’s palace.
That brat was ridiculously pretty.
Fleon thought the boy in front of him was beautiful like he had popped out of the drawings his mother had shown him before,
“Are you waiting for the same person?”
His voice was high and thin. Because of that, Fleon did not feel like being mean. He nodded slowly before a gust of wind blew between the two boys.
“You’re right. I’m waiting.”
The boy smiled softly.
“I’m waiting for that child.”
That was Dane and Fleon’s first meeting.
“We greet the heir to the wolves, the 6th Branch.”
“How long has it been since you celebrated your 11th birthday? Congratulations.”
The fragrance of flowers brushed the tip of his nose. Fleon wrinkled his forehead.
‘This damned flower scent.’
He did not like that smell. He had more things he disliked than he liked. The same could be said for the place he was in. He looked down uncomfortably at the boy who looked to be of his age chattering away.
“Are you an idiot or did you not understand me?”
After kicking the boy out, Fleon crossed his legs. He was wearing knee-length trousers paired with a fully buttoned shirt under a linen vest and a child’s cravat. His collar shook in the light breeze before tickling his chin.
The small banquet hall was filled with children dressed in Imperial attire and the kingdom’s clothes like Fleon. Just when he was about to leave, he was held back.
‘I should curse.’
But diminishing his honour also meant degrading his temple and his mother’s name. His head was spinning.
‘Oh, this is annoying.’
Fleon was selfish but he knew what he should and should not do.
“I am Rebecca Eileen von Aventa.”
In any case, the highest position in this hall was occupied by Fleon and whether he wanted to or not, he had to sit here with Dane and continue greeting people.
‘I feel like a bird in a cage. How dirty.’
He shifted his gaze to the girl who had lowered her back and raised just her head. Her red hair blazed like a flame. A symbol of her pureblood as red hair was the unique trait that symbolised the Aventa family.
We finally have Fleon’s POV evrybdy!!